Their eyes were watching god theme

Click the themes infographic to download. Because of this, women are confined by men to positions of passivity, pleading, domesticity, and as objects of desire. Men impose these standards on women by silencing their voices, limiting their actions with notions of propriety, and insulting their appearances and sexuality. Men, on the other hand, are expected to always be dominant.

Their eyes were watching god theme

Community As Janie returns to Eatonville, the novel focuses on the porch-sitters who gossip and speculate about her situation. In Eatonville and the Everglades, particularly, the two most significant settings in the novel, Janie constantly interacts with the community around her.

Joe Starks commits a surprising act of kindness for Janie by

At certain times, she longs to be a part of this vibrant social life, which, at its best, offers warmth, safety, connection, and interaction for Janie. At other times, however, Janie scorns the pettiness of the gossip and rumors that flourish in these communities, which often criticize her out of jealousy for her independence and strong will.

These communities, exemplifying a negative aspect of unity, demand the sacrifice of individuality. Although race is a significant motif in the book, it is not, by any means, a central theme.

But issues of race are nonetheless present. Janie and Tea Cake experience prejudice from both blacks and whites at significant moments in the book. Two moments in particular stand out: Turner, a black woman with racist views against blacks, and the courtroom scene, in Chapter 19, after which Janie is comforted by white women but scorned by her black friends.

Their Eyes Were Watching God - Wikipedia She experiences different kinds of love throughout her life. As a result of her quest for this love, Janie gains her own independence and personal freedom, which makes her a true heroine in the novel.
Their Eyes Were Watching God Themes - Rather, the book is ripe with multiple life lessons. However, one of the central themes focuses on the idea of self-actualization.

In these moments, we see that racism in the novel operates as a cultural construct, a free-floating force that affects not only how white characters treat black characters, but also how black characters perceive themselves.

In other words, racism is a cultural force that individuals can either struggle against or yield to rather than a mindset rooted in demonstrable facts.

In this way, racism operates in the novel just like the hurricane and the doctrine to which Jody adheres; it is an environmental force that challenges Janie in her quest to achieve harmony with the world around her.


The book maintains an almost Gnostic perspective on the universe: God is not a single entity but a diffuse force. This outlook is particularly evident in the mystical way that Hurston describes nature. At various times, the sun, moon, sky, sea, horizon, and other aspects of the natural world appear imbued with divinity.

The God in the title refers to these divine forces throughout the world, both beautiful and threatening, that Janie encounters. Her quest is a spiritual one because her ultimate goal is to find her place in the world, understand who she is, and be at peace with her environment.

Thus, except for one brief reference to church in Chapter 12, organized religion never appears in the novel. The idea of spirituality, on the other hand, is always present, as the novel espouses a worldview rooted in folklore and mythology. As an anthropologist, Hurston collected rural mythology and folklore of blacks in America and the Caribbean.

Many visions of mysticism that she presents in the novel—her haunting personification of Death, the idea of a sun-god, the horizon as a boundary at the end of the world—are likely culled directly from these sources.Despite its references to race, racism is not the central theme of Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Their eyes were watching god theme

Instead, Hurston weaves race and racism into the society and culture in which Janie lives, but chooses to focus more on Janie 's life experiences as a human being than as a black woman.

Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God is at heart a story about one woman's search for true love. Janie's romantic ideas about love leave her unhappy with Logan and Joe.

(Click the themes infographic to download.) In Their Eyes Were Watching God, idealized romantic love is the protagonist’s ultimate goal.

Their Eyes Were Watching God Themes from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

She battles against the commonly held view of love as un. Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.

Language: Speech and Silence. Their Eyes Were Watching God is most often celebrated for Hurston’s unique use of language, particularly her mastery of rural Southern black dialect.

Major Themes of Their Eyes Were Watching God

Throughout the novel, she utilizes an interesting narrative structure, splitting the presentation of the story between high literary narration .

''Their Eyes Were Watching God'' by Zora Neale Hurston is a novel about social class, discrimination, domination, and love. Learn more about the themes of this novel, then test your understanding. Struggling with the themes of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God?

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Their Eyes Were Watching God Themes